Wednesday, Mar 04th

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Ireland’s Health Minister Comes Out

Irish health ministerMinister for Health Leo Varadkar has come out publicly this morning, saying he is a “gay man”.

“I am a gay man, it’s not a secret, but not something that everyone would necessarily know but isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1.

“It’s not something that defines me,”he said. “I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose”.


Israel kills son of Hezbollah's late military chief in Syria: Hezbollah sources

Israel kills son oh hezbolla leaderAn Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed five members of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement including the son of group's late military leader Imad Moughniyah, sources close to Hezbollah said, in an attack that has the potential to trigger reprisals.

Israel's military declined to comment, but Israel's Ynet news Web site quoted an Israeli military source as saying the attack had targeted "terrorists who intended to attack Israel".


Churches burned in Niger during second day of Charlie Hebdo protests

niger churches burnedSeveral churches were burned during demonstrations in Niger's capital and another regional town Saturday, as protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad entered their second day.

At least two churches were razed in the Nigerian capital of Niamey outside the city's main mosque where Muslim leaders had organized a march. Authorities banned the demonstration and subsequent clashes resulted in police deploying tear gas as protesters threw stones and burned two police cars.


Israeli minister calls for removal of Palestinian President

LiebermanIsrael's foreign minister says the Palestinian president must be removed for peace talks to proceed after the International Criminal Court announced it is opening a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes.

Avigdor Lieberman said President Mahmoud Abbas must "pay the price" for initiating the ICC probe. Lieberman told Israel Radio Sunday that "We must get rid of Abu Mazen (Abbas)" for diplomacy to prevail. He said the U.S. must stop its financial assistance to the Palestinians.


Islamic State group releases 200 captive Yazidis in Iraq

Yazidia freedThe Islamic State group released about 200 Yazidis held for five months in Iraq, mostly elderly, infirm captives who likely slowed the extremists down, Kurdish military officials said Sunday.

Almost all of the freed prisoners are in poor health and bore signs of abuse and neglect. Three were young children. The former captives were being questioned and receiving medical treatment on Sunday in the town of Alton Kupri.

Gen. Shirko Fatih, commander of Kurdish peshmerga forces in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, said it appears the militants released the prisoners because they were too much of a burden.


Fighting rages anew at Ukraine airport, three soldiers killed

Fighting at Ukraine airportFighting raged on Saturday at the main airport of Ukraine's city of Donetsk as separatists resumed attempts to break the tenuous grip of government forces on the complex and Kiev's military said three more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed.

With attempts to restart peace talks stalled, pro-Russian rebels have stepped up shelling attacks to break the resistance of government troops dug in at the airport, itself a wrecked hulk battered by months of war.


Two men dead in Belgium counter-terror raids

Two dead in Belgium raidTwo suspected jihadists were shot dead and a third arrested in eastern Belgium during a major operation on Thursday to prevent “imminent terrorist attacks on a grand scale”, a Belgian federal prosecutor has said.

The targets of the operation were a network of jihadists who had recently returned from Syria, the prosecutor said, and were on the point of launching an assault in Belgium.


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